William CARTER (1852–1921)

Founder of Carterton

Carterton Town Hall, Alvescot Road, Carterton

William Carter, the son of a master builder, was born at Branksome in Dorset in 1852. He emigrated for a time to America where he made his fortune in house building and property development. He even ventured into building kilns in Argentina. He returned to England in 1876 and settled in Dorset where he created the successful Kinson pottery, still operating in 1999.

He then turned to land development, forming William Carter Estates, later Homesteads Ltd., registered at Parkstone in Dorset. His aim was partly ideological – to attract people back to the land by making smallholdings available at affordable prices with the possibility of mortgage facilities. He bought land in several counties around London and sold it on in one-acre plots. In 1900 he bought the 740 acre Rock Farm in Black Bourton, part of land sold in 1894 by the Duke of Marlborough to W. C. Arkell. He sold or leased mainly two-acre plots to incoming settlers. Early housing consisted of galvanized corrugated iron mounted on timber frames with brick chimneys. The last surviving specimen was demolished in 2002.

Carter died in Dorset in 1921. He had never lived in Carterton but was the eponymous founder of the community of market gardeners and poultry farmers which arose there. In 1902 there were 16 houses, rising to 710 in 1931. The arrival of R.A.F. Brize Norton in 1937, now one of the major airbases in the country, had a huge impact on Carterton: in 2005 it is the second largest town in West Oxfordshire with a population of some 14,000.

  • Sources: Simon Townley on Carterton in the Victoria County History vol. XV; P. R. Seldon, The Carterton Story (Carterton Town Hall, 1997)

The plaque was unveiled at Carterton Town Hall, Alvescot Road, Carterton on 30 March 2004 by Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. The ceremony was attended by direct descendants of William Carter and by a representative from R.A.F. Brize Norton.

Plaque to William Carter

Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board



in 1900

Carterton Town Council and
West Oxfordshire district council

© Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board


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